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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Guns 'n Roses-Appetite For Destruction (JHO Hall Of Fame)
For music listeners weened out on the lite hair metal pop that quickly became the forerunner in popularity at the end of the decade, "Appetite For Destruction" was like a brutal sidekick to the ribs. In the summer of '88, hearing the opening guitar salvo by Slash on "Sweet Child O' Mine" roar through the speakers from your top 40 radio station was an adrenaline rush. It was a smart, vulnerable ballad that never pandered to sappiness. Rose's vocals along with Slash's guitar solo was miles above anything else going in hard rock at the time. And for a generation who got their information on music from MTV, seeing the band in the video for the song just reinforced the fact that these guys were truly more bad-ass than say...Poison or Winger or whoever was dominating the pop metal charts at the time. "Sweet Child O' Mine" went on to be a number one single and the follow up singles "Welcome To The Jungle" and "Paradise City" had everyone and their uncles buying "Appetite For Destruction." It was the toast of its time.
"Appetite" is basically broken down into two parts. Songs about partying hard and living life in the city and songs about relationships, good and bad, sex and even love (Izzy Stradlin's sweet "Think About You"). The common thread is the seedy sense of nihilism and L.A. sleaze that never surrenders any of its rollicking energy. It's the sound of a young band being effortless. No over thinking here, write a song in three hours and commit to it.
The "relationship" songs that populate the second half of the album range from brutally honest dedications ("My Michelle") to light hearted and vulnerable love songs ("Think About You" and "Sweet Child O' Mine") to straight up songs about sex ("Anything Goes" and the overdub of actual sex in the studio on "Rocket Queen"). And the other three songs I didn't mention "It's So Easy", "Out Ta Get Me" and the overcharged "You're Crazy"...well they're all pretty good too. And the subject matter wouldn't have worked if Rose didn't have such talent behind the music as Slash and Stradlin trading edgy guitar licks naturally and bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler proved to be a rhythm section to be reckoned with.
It would be a bit foolish to leave "Appetite For Destruction" out of the JHO Hall Of Fame. Not that it was a life changing album or that I have any gigantic attachment to it, but I'd be re-missed if it didn't come up in any conversation of my favorite albums of all time. It's just too strong of an effort to deny, a TKO in the first round. It's too bad the band quickly disintegrated afterward because for a magic moment, they could do no wrong.